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Explore the Colca Canyon Trek 2 Days

MAR 2023 - DEC 2024 Price from $ 125 USD pp $ 145 USD
Trip Type peruBest of Perú
Difficulty Level Challenging/Tough
Group Size 2-15 people
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Hikking the Colca Canyon in 2 Days

Trip Overview

The Colca Canyon, almost 100 kilometers long and 3,400 meters deep, is the second deepest in the world behind Cotahuasi, also in the Peruvian region of Arequipa, whose depression reaches 3,535 meters. This remote territory is a paradise for lovers of adventure tourism and an unbeatable setting to appreciate the flight of the mythical Andean condor, the largest bird on the planet, which has its natural habitat in the Colca.

The Colca Valley is the main attraction of the Arequipa region and also one of the most important in Peru. The Colca is an open, fertile and populated valley, characterized by beautiful agricultural terraces and a dozen picturesque towns where the Collaguas Indians maintain their customs. Below, the valley closes and becomes a deep and narrow canyon, which can be admired from the surroundings of Cabanaconde.

INCLUDED

INCLUDED IN THE COLCA CANYON TREK 2 DAYS

  • Pick up from your Hotel in the center of Arequipa
  • Ticket for the Colca Canyon
  • 01 night accommodation at the Oasis de Sangalle (private room).
  • 01 breakfast, 02 lunches and 01 dinner
  • Tourist Transportation for the entire tour
  • Professional guide in Spanish / English throughout the tour
  • First aid kit
  • Oxygen Tank

NOT INCLUDED

  • Entrance ticket to the thermal baths of Yanque ($5 USD)
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips and other personal expenses not mentioned in the itinerary

Trip Highlights

  • The natural particularity is due to the fact that it presents characteristics that make it a different and unique destination. Considered an ‘Open Book of Geology’ for having one of the deepest canyons on the planet, with an extensive record of rocks 540 million years old, up to the present; as well as a fossil record of fauna, trunks and footprints found in strata of marine and continental origin.
  • It is a center of thermal springs and geysers, geodynamic events that have given rise to the current landscape, where populations and large agricultural platforms are settled. It presents glacial ranges highlighting the Mismi, which is the source of the Amazon River.
  • In addition to its spectacular landscape, Colca has cultural diversity, unique dances, colonial churches, and archaeological remains. However, the best-known attraction of the Colca today is the Cruz del Condor, a 3 viewpoint next to the road with views over the depth of the Canyon, and where Andean condors usually fly in the morning.

 

Activities

There are multiple hiking routes in the Colca Canyon, to choose the best route, simply decide how much time you have and what Colca Canyon attractions you wish to see. While most standard Colca Canyon tours are two days and one night. Whichever Colca Canyon trekking route you choose, a Colca Canyon hike is an unforgettable and memorable experience on a Peru itinerary.
Some of the trails are narrow and steep, so there are dangers like losing your footing. In some sections the trail has suffered from rock and landslides.
Remember, hiking the Colca Canyon is a lot of ups and down with multiple routes. But it worth because there are really nice viewpoints of the Colca canyon.

Accommodations

Paraiso Las Palmeras Lodge (1 night)

Offering an outdoor pool and a restaurant, Paraiso Las Palmeras Lodge is located in the Colca Valley, Cabanaconde. Rooms have access to shared bathrooms with shower and towels. All rooms have pool and garden views. During your stay at the property you can visit surrounding areas, such as the Colca River, located a 5-minute walk away.

Itinerary

Level Challenging/Tough
Max Elevation 3500 m
Hiking Distance 15 km
Approximate walking time 6 hrs

We will start our trip when we pick you up from your hotel at 03:00 am. On a trip of approx. 3 hours we will arrive at Chivay where we will have breakfast. After breakfast we will depart to the Mirador de la Cruz del Cóndor (3500.m.s.n.m) where we will observe the majestic flight of the condor and the largest canyon in the world. We will spend approximately 1 hour.
Then we will continue to the town of Cabanaconde where we will start our walk approx. At 10:00 a.m. above 3,280 m.s.n.m. After three hours of walking we will be arriving at the town of San Juan de Chuccho where we will have lunch. We will rest for half an hour and then start our walk of approximately 1 hour through the towns of Cosñirhua and Malata (2660 m.s.n.m) and then arrive at Sangalle where We will have the afternoon free to enjoy the landscape and the facilities of the Lodging, where we will have dinner and rest.

Accommodation

  • Hostel Paraiso Las Palmeras Lodge (DWB)

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

 

Level Challenging/Tough
Max Elevation 4800 m
Hiking Distance 6 km
Approximate walking time 3 hrs

Today we will start our walk very early at 5:00 am, the trail will all go up to the town of Cabanaconde, this walk lasts approximately 3 hours. Our breakfast will be at a local restaurant in Cabanaconde.
Then we will start the return to the town of Chivay in our transport, during the journey we will make several stops in the towns of Pinchollo and Maca, as well as in the Choquetico and Antahuilque viewpoints, from where we will observe the impressive terraces of the Colca Valley. At 11:30 am we arrive at the thermal baths in La Calera whose thermo-medicinal waters range between 35º C to 38º C in temperature in the pools. At 1:30 p.m. we will enjoy our buffet lunch in Chivay. Then we will start our return to the city of Arequipa. We will stop at the Mirador de los Volcanes, which is also the highest area of the road (4800 masl) from where we will appreciate the volcanoes: HUALCA-HUALCA, SABANCAYA, AMPATO, CHACHANI AND EL MISTI. Bordering the snowy Chachani towards Pampa Cañahuas we will pass through the home of vicuñas which graze freely in this area. We will arrive in Arequipa at 5:30 pm approx. and we will leave them near the main square.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

PACKING LIST

COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS warm jackets
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS Hydration bladder
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS wool socks
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS camera
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS scarf
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS first aid kit
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS hiking shoes
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS Dry bags
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS Trekking Poles
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS sun cream
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS Snack
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS sun hat
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS bathing suite
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS rain coat
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS Sandals
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS insect repellent
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS Passport
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS Down Jackets
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS toilet paper
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS daypack
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS Wool cap
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS head lamp
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS gloves
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS sun glasses
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS cap
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS extra cash
COLCA CANYON TREK  2 DAYS Trekking pants

FAQ

WHAT IS COLCA CANYON?

The Colca is a south Peruvian canyon considered the second deepest worldwide (around 11,000 feet deep) with an extension of 12,000 square kilometers. Andean landscapes, charming local towns, imposants condors, cozy hot springs at its bottom, and diverse trails that cross it, attract tourists every year. Starting with the most important Colca Canyon facts, we will say that it is located 130 miles northwest of Arequipa, an important south Peruvian city.

Specifically, in the Chivay district, over 2110 m.a.s.l. Therefore, the hikes or tours themselves could be considered quite challenging due to the altitude of certain mountains, hills, and Vulcans located there. Keep in mind that most hikes last two or three days. But added to the phenomenal views, you will have the possibility to see condors and dive into wonderful hot springs, among other amazing activities. Also, as you’ll have to pass, first, by “the white city”, to get to the canyon, it is recommendable to spend some nights and enjoy the many things to do in Arequipa.

WHERE DOES THE COLCA CANYON TREK START?

Cabanaconde is the main destination for adventure seekers in the Colca Valley, a small town perched on the canyon’s precipice. Here you will find some places to sleep, not very glamorous but clean. Besides, there are numerous places to eat and drink beer. From here, there are three main start points for the hike, depending upon which 2 or 3 day route you’ll be following.

CULTURAL HISTORY OF COLCA CANYON

The Incas are commonly given all the credit for the development of highly advanced agricultural techniques in the Andes. But, it seems indisputable that much of this knowledge came from contact with the populations of Colca Canyon, who themselves acquired techniques from long periods of exchange among Andean societies.

Around 600 AD, the Collaguas and Cabanas flourished in Colca. The groups developed agricultural technology such as terraces on the sides of mountains to create land for farming, which in turn led to denser settlements. They also built colcas, stone reservoirs placed at higher elevations, to store grains and tubers in cold and dry conditions – nature’s icebox. These dual developments enabled populations to avoid famine in times of difficulty and became instruments to amass political power.

Over the next three centuries, the Wari civilization spread its influence into the southern Andes and introduced new agricultural technology. Multiple administrative and ritual centers were established to oversee the further centralization of political power. Post-Wari political power appears to have become dispersed again, but the agricultural economy remained intact. Collaguas and Cabanas regained their political independence and maintained relations of trade and exchange.

The arrival of the Incas around 1450 AD once again altered the political landscape. Incan elites intermarried with local rulers and thus gained access to the economic and agricultural realms of the Colca region.

GEOGRAPHY OF THE COLCA CANYON

Colca is the name of the canyon, river, and valley in the province of Caylloma 100 mi (160 km) northwest of Arequipa. The Colca region sits atop a major fault that fractured millions of years ago. Over millennia, the continuous flow of the Colca River has carved deep into the volcanic rock and formed Colca Canyon. Intense geothermal activity persists, as evidenced by the many geysers, fumaroles, and hot springs in the region.

The town of Chivay is between the rim and the depths of the canyon. For its geographical location, Chivay has become a transit point for travelers venturing from Arequipa into the canyon, including those who arrange to spend the night at a hotel in Colca Canyon.

From Chivay, continue deeper into Colca to smaller towns like Yanque (5 mi/8 km away) and the famous lookout point for condors (26 mi/42 km away). The village of Cabanaconde, where many treks begin, is 34 mi (55 km) on the opposite side of the canyon from Chivay.

WHAT IS THE ELEVATION OF COLCA CANYON

Elevations vary dramatically throughout the Colca region. Chivay (elevation 11,800 ft, or 3,600 m) is the midway point between the valley’s highest and lowest elevations. The road between Arequipa and Colca Canyon goes over the soaring 15,830-ft (4,825-m) Patapampa Pass before dropping down to Chivay and other destinations like Cabanaconde at 10,760 ft (3,280 m).

At its deepest point, Colca Canyon cuts roughly 10,830 ft (3,300 m) into the earth in the Huambo district in Peru’s Caylloma province. This depth makes Colca the world’s second deepest canyon. Nearby Cotahuasi Canyon is only about 700 feet deeper and is the deepest canyon in the world with a maximum depth of 11,560 ft (3,535 m). For reference, Grand Canyon in Arizona, United States is about 6,000 ft (1,830 m) at its deepest point.

COLCA CANYON TREK VS COLCA CANYON TOUR

The Colca Canyon treks, as its name indicates, are treks developed along the canyon in two or three days. On the other hand, a tour of this canyon can be developed in one day because this visit is not a trek, but a transport tour. In other words, the Colca Canyon tours are typical trips in which transportation picks you up and moves you to the most important canyon zones. You generally never descend to the bottom of the canyon, as the tour passes through towns and attractions near the top of the canyon.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO VISIT THE COLCA CANYON?

Visiting the Colca Canyon can be done in a few different ways, but the most common are:

  1. COLCA CANYON TOUR – FULL DAY

The travel agency transportation will pick you up at 03:00 am from your hotel in Arequipa. 4 hours take the trip from Arequipa to Cabanaconde (a town, starting point to do the Colca Canyon tour). Previously, the transport makes a stop in Chivay (a town located before Cabanaconde) to take breakfast (included) and visit the Cruz del Condor lookout to appreciate the majestic condor. Later, once in Cabanaconde, the transport follows a determinate route, visiting the most important points located close to the mountain tops of the canyon. After taking lunch in any of the quaint Colca towns  and reposing in some thermal baths of the place, the transportation will pick you up heading to Cabanaconde and after to Arequipa, ending the tour at 5:00 pm Aprox.

  1. COLCA CANYON TOUR – 2 DAYS / 1 NIGHT

Spending at least one night in Colca Canyon is a wonderful way to experience the region at a relaxed pace. This tour is developed with transportation and a bilingual travel guide. The points to visit are similar to the Colca Canyon full-day tour with the difference that you will spend a night in Chivay town or in anyone located close to the canyon border, to continue the visit to Salinas – Aguada National Reserve the next day. This tour is perfect for those tourists who have 2 complete days to visit the canyon and don’t want to do much physical effort. Condor sighting, relaxation in thermal baths, and walks through natural gardens, among other experiences, can be enjoyed on this tour.

COLCA CANYON HIKING ROUTES

Now you’re fully prepared for the trek, it’s time to plan your route. When it comes to choosing your Colca Canyon hiking route, you’ve got a wealth of options. Typically, you can opt to hike one route into the canyon (to one of the three settlements in the oasis at the bottom) and return the same way, or hike a full loop into and then around around the canyon (taking a circuit that heads east or west).

To help you decide, we’ve focused on three routes which differ according to their difficulty, the majesty of their scenery and the terrain they cross. The durations given are how long we would recommend in order for you to hike comfortable and have time to enjoy some relaxation when you arrive at the oasis towns for the evening. And if you’re feeling like you need an extra day of rest before embarking on the steep climb out, you can always extend any one of these routes by including an additional night staying at the oasis.

COLCA CANYON TREK – 2 DAYS / 1 NIGHT

This tour tries to touch the same points as the Colca tour of three days but in less time. For this reason, the person who chose this option has to be in good physical condition. The two-day hike takes you along the canyon wall for 20 kilometers (12.4 miles). On the first day, you will depart from Cabanaconde at 06:00 am and have a long and pleasant walk, descending to the canyon bottom. The path is not very steep but has parts of loose gravel, so you have to walk carefully. Plus, you’ll constantly be walking in the scorching sun, which can be tiring.

Once at the bottom of the canyon, you will cross the Colca River, where the landscape becomes more vigorous. You will have a scheduled stop in a small nearby town called San Juan de Chuccho for lunch. Then you will continue the walk to Sangalle where you will have dinner and spend the night. In this town, you will surely take advantage of and enjoy the best Colca hot springs. These are ideal for relaxing after a long day of hiking.

On the second day, the hike will start early in the morning with destiny to the top of the Canyon. The path is steep and requires physical effort. You will have some beautiful views available and condor sightings assured. A great possibility to know the Canyon and its beautiful valley before returning to Cabanaconde and finishing the tour.

COLCA CANYON TREK – 3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS

In the same way, the trek begins at 06:00 am and runs about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles). On the first day, you will arrive early in the town of Chivay where you will enjoy the first stop. You will experience the famous viewpoint “Cruz del Condor” where you can see some Colca Canyon condors. Then the hike will begin descending to the bottom of the canyon.

You will spend the night in San Juan de Chuccho where you will also enjoy the dinner. On the second day, you will continue the walk to some beautiful traditional villages where you will enjoy various activities like participating in traditional dances and planting some typical products among other activities. Then you will descend towards Sangalle where you will stay and have dinner. On your third day, you will have an uphill walk to Cabanaconde where you will have breakfast and then take your transport back to Arequipa. The route is the same as the two-day trek, with the difference that you stay in San Juan de Chuccho and Sangalle. You will have much more time to explore the villages and your surroundings.

I CANNOT DECIDE BETWEEN THE TOUR AND TREK. WHAT ARE THE MAIN DIFFERENCES?

Full Day Tour: Best for travelers on a tight schedule. Departs Arequipa at 03:30am and returns at 17:30pm.

2 Day Tour: Best for the less active traveler. Does not include an actual hike into the Canyon, instead stopping at nice viewpoints and traditional viewpoints along the way.

2 Day Trek: Best for the energetic traveler. The climb out is a good 1100m so please bear this in mind (a day’s acclimatization is required upon arrival in Arequipa).

3 Day Trek: Best for those wanting to enjoy the Canyon at a more relaxed pace.

I DO NOT WANT TO TAKE ALL OF MY STUFF WITH ME. WHERE CAN I LEAVE MY BIG BAG?

Hotels and hostels in Arequipa will normally store your bags in their safety deposit for free whilst you are away at the Canyon, until you check-in again upon your return. Head off for the trip with just what you need and leave the rest in storage. Especially for the trek as you will need to carry what you take.

I WANT TO DO THE TREK BUT I AM NOT TRAVELING WITH ANY CAMPING EQUIPMENT

You do not need any special equipment with you to be able to tackle the Colca Canyon. A tent is not required. Accommodation in small rustic huts is provided in the ¨Oasis¨ at the bottom of the Canyon. It can get cold at nights and very warm during the day so you need to pack for all weathers and have comfortable footwear (trekking shoes or good trainers are sufficient).

CAN I DO THE COLCA TREK ALONE OR SHOULD I HIRE A TRAVEL AGENCY?

It is very important to know the dangers to which you could be exposed if you venture into little-known terrain such as the Colca Canyon, so it is recommended that you go preferably with a travel agency whose reputation is good and has the high mountain guides qualified for this trekking route.

Even if you go with a good GPS or the best route map, some unforeseen events could occur, such as falling off cliffs, getting lost on the route, falling into the Colca river, or suffering from some illness in the mountains, first of all, a travel agency It provides immediate evacuation because the guides have radios that are connected to the closest surveillance posts.

I know that you could save some money, but the most real thing in this type of hiking routes is to consider your safety as one of the most essential priorities, also going in a group with the travel agency will connect you to meet new friends.

In summary Andean Great Treks does not recommend doing the Colca Canyon trek alone.

BEST TIME TO VISIT COLCA

Weather for Colca Canyon is typical of the Andes and high elevation destinations in Peru. The region experiences a rainy summer and a dry winter with transitional periods in between.

If you want to enjoy clear days, dry and cold breezes, and firm ground to walk, we recommend you visit the Colca Canyon in the dry season (from April to November). Disadvantage? Well, you will find many adventurers like you (a crowd of tourists) hiking the same routes. On the other hand, If you want to hike the Colca canyon between December to March, you’ll find fewer visitors and more freedom, but more rain, cloudy skies, cold breezes, and the danger of falling off a cliff due to the mud on the ground.

The wet season is from January to March. Cloudy skies are the norm, and downpours are usually brief and episodic. February receives the most rainfall. Average daytime temperatures are about 60°F (16°C) and drop to 45°F (7°C) at night.

  • Pros: A less popular time to hike, so the number of people you’re sharing the trail with are notably reduced. Temperatures at night are also less chilly, but you’ll still need extra layers once the sun goes down.
  • Cons: If it rains it wouldn’t be that much fun, and the steep descents would become very slippy.

The dry season is from May to November. Conditions are generally sunny with a small chance of precipitation. Temperatures during the day are usually around 65°F (18°C) but warmer at midday in direct sunlight. At night, without cloud cover, the temperature can dip down to a chilly 25°F (4°C).

  • Pros: The chance of rain, as the name would suggest, is significantly reduced and you can expect hot, dry mornings and afternoons. There’s also an increased chance of spotting condors (but they can be seen all year).
  • Cons: Dry season also coincides with the highest tourism season in Peru (June – August), so expect to see more hikers on the trail and increased demand for tours. Accommodation will also be more difficult to secure. Lastly, nighttime temperatures in dry season drop significantly, so expect very cold nights.

Temperatures vary with elevation. The lowest parts of the canyon can get quite warm in the dry season, especially on hiking trails exposed to direct sunlight. The higher you go, the colder and windier it gets. Mornings and evenings tend to be quite chilly, especially in the dry season.

WATER SOURCES IN COLCA CANYON

You can easily find some good water resources in Colca Canyon, but we definitely recommend you to purify the water from any source, bring your own tablets from your country or buy it in Arequipa. Most of the family houses have good fresh water and you can fill your bottles there and use them after been purified. You can also buy in their little shops mineral water, price can be 3 times more expensive, but it is understandable the big effort they spend in bringing water from Cabanaconde. A very good advice is to refuel your water in little villages and not carry so much since you can find in every village a shop. We also recommend you to bring all your plastic bottles back to Cabanaconde.

WILL I SEE CONDORS ON A COLCA CANYON TOUR?

It is almost 100% that you will see Condors on a Colca Canyon tour. These tours are planned around visiting a famous Condor viewpoint where the Condors visit at the same time every day.

IS THERE AN ENTRANCE FEE TO THE COLCA CANYON?

All visitors to Colca Canyon must pay a $ 20 USD entrance fee. You can buy the ticket at any checkpoint. Hold on to the ticket because park officials will ask to see it at various checkpoints.

A LIST OF WHAT YOU NEED FOR THE HIKE IN COLCA CANYON

The weather in the Colca Canyon makes it a little tricky when it comes to what to pack and what to wear. Though the temperature in the oasis stays around 15 C° (59 F°) during the day, it’s pretty hot in Cabanaconde, especially when you hike under the sun. So, wear something you can sweat in, but bring a jacket or an extra layer in case the sun decides to hide behind the cloud.

  • Sunblock and a hat. The sun can be pretty intense even at seven o’clock in the morning! Put on sunblock before your hike and keep your head protected under a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Insect repellent. Especially in the oasis, there will be insects wherever you go. Protect yourself with insect repellent that lasts a long time, so you don’t have to constantly stop to re-apply. Something like Sawyer’s insect repellent is great; put it on right before your hike, and it will protect you for up to eight hours.
  • A trekking pole. Hiking down thousands of meters of the Colca Canyon elevation towards the oasis can be challenging. A trekking pole (or even a pair of them) helps prevent you from losing your balance and slipping down.
  • A raincoat. Even if it’s not the rainy season (December through March), there’s still a chance of drizzle.
  • One litre of water for every three hours of your hike (and more for the climb!). Having a sip of water every now and then during your trek is vital. The intense sun combined with the dryness of the high desert region means more effort is required to stay hydrated. Note that you cannot drink the tap water in the Colca Canyon and the water in the river is likely contaminated by mining waste. The only chance you’ll have to restock is to buy bottled water at your lodging or small shops you’ll find in the villages.
  • Some parts of the trek, especially between Cabanaconde and Llahuar, have no shops in between. To stop you running on empty, pack protein bars, energy drinks, and other types of sustenance that help curb your hunger while providing you extra energy.
  • Warm clothes. Even though it’s not winter, nights in the oasis can get below freezing. Pack a jacket and nice warm socks to help you sleep better. You’ll need your zs before a challenging hike the next day!
  • BRING CASH, no atm or bank in the village of Cabanaconde
  • A good Trekking shoes
  • Cellphone (You will find some signal in some villages)
  • A day backpack
  • A Cap
  • Sun Glasses
  • Convertible Pant are ideal for the hike
  • Bathing suit
  • Flash-light and extra batteries
  • Watch
  • Purification Tablets (optional)
  • Whistle
  • Basic First aid-kit

Always take precautions to prevent misadventures during your hike. It is true that there have been incidents in Colca Canyon, but it is due to the lack of information and recklessness of yourself. There are good resources for information, we will inform you all about it.

  • Depart early for your trek, let’s say 7am it is a good time and do not hike after 2pm.
  • Get early to your destination or before dark. Do not expose yourself in danger by walking at dark or taking short-cuts.
  • Take with you your cell-phone, there is signal in most villages and some parts of the trek.
  • Walk through save paths, avoid short-cuts. Trails are very obvious.
  • Fill your water in every village.
  • Ask to locals if you are in the good trail, you can meet locals working in their farms.
  • Do not hike if you are sick or Vertigo.
  • Carry enough things for your hike. A day bagpack is enough; keep in my mind that walking in Colca Canyon you can climb from 700mts to 1,200mts level difference. You do not need sleeping bag.
  • Let know your hostel what trek your departing for, how many days, when you come back, etc.
  • Carry your tourist ticket; there is control in viewpoint and bridges, so there is not way to avoid paying.
  • Do not hike alone, meet other travellers.
  • Get all the information for your planned hike.
  • When you hire a mule, make sure the horse tack are in good conditions.
  • Never get close to dangerous cliffs.
  • Do not touch unknown plants such as Qatupa.
  • Do not fire.

WHAT TO DO IN THE COLCA CANYON

ANDEAN CONDORS

Colca Canyon is one of the best spots in South America for close-range observation of condors. Mirador Cruz del Condor is a viewing platform that encapsulates the magic of the high Andes. In front of you, the mountains rise to sky-scraping heights. Below you, the valley floor spills down to vertigo-inducing depths. And above you, Andean condors with 8-foot (2.5-meter) wingspans can be seen (with luck) soaring gracefully on the thermal drifts created in the canyon, drawing gasps from awed onlookers.

Condors play an important role in the folklore and mythology of the Andean regions throughout Latin America. Considered the animal of the spirit world according to the Inca, it is easy to understand why when you see the majestic creatures swooping through the air. Read more about condors in Peru.

CHIVAY

Chivay is the tourism hub of Colca and sits on the banks of the Colca River at 11,800 ft (3,600 m). The town is the linking point between the two sides of Colca Canyon and is a watershed in the region’s environmental and ecological economy. Agriculture flourishes below this elevation, while livestock and ranching dominate the upper highland economies.

In Chivay, there are plenty of choices for lodging, a lively market hosted in the plaza, and shops selling high-quality local handicrafts. Just a short walk out of town are the hot springs of La Calera – perfect for a relaxing soak after a day of exploring.

YANQUE

The quaint town of Yanque boasts spectacular views over the river and surrounding volcanoes such as Sabancaya and Mismi (whose glacier is the source of the Amazon River). In the morning, the central plaza serves as a stage for local schoolchildren to perform folkloric dances for tourists.

Also on the plaza, Immaculate Conception Church is considered to be the most architecturally beautiful of the valley’s churches. First built in 1560, destroyed in an earthquake 100 years later, and rebuilt again in the late 17th century, the church displays a baroque mestizo style with a carved bas relief portal entrance.

On the road out of town, you’ll see a magnificent example of pre-Columbian terracing at Llaqta Cucho whose name means amphitheater.

HOT SPRINGS

Whether you’re spending the night in Chivay or have just completed a trek, consider relaxing in one of the numerous hot springs and geysers throughout Colca Canyon. Locals believe the pools have curative properties, especially for rheumatism and arthritis.

La Calera hot springs are 2 mi (3.5 km) from Chivay. Choose from indoor and outdoor pools of differing temperatures with views to the mountain landscape. Calera can sometimes have a bit of a festive atmosphere in the afternoons, so go early for a more tranquil experience.

Chacapi hot springs are 1 mi (1.5 km) from the plaza in Yanque and a pleasant setting for a reinvigorating soak in thermal waters after a day of exploring. The water temperature at the pools can reach up to 122°F (50°C).

Guests at Colca Lodge have unlimited access to the hotel’s amazing thermal pools.

PLANETARIUM

Direct your eyes to the glittering nighttime sky over Colca Canyon. In Chivay, Casa Andina Standard has a small planetarium and observatory with nightly tours offered in English and Spanish. Clouds obstruct the constellations during the rainy season in Colca, so the planetarium is generally closed between January and March. Learn about Inca astronomy and the southern night sky.

CABANACONDE

Cabanaconde is the closest town to Mirador Cruz del Condor, and the starting point for Colca Canyon treks to Sangalle. The town is great for travelers in search of day hikes as there are outstanding lookout points within easy walking distance. From the trail viewpoints of Cejana, San Miguel, and Achachiwa, you can peer down at villages tucked into the valley bottom. The sight of hulking mountains across the canyon is truly humbling. You might even see a condor or two swooping past.

SANGALLE

From Cabanaconde, it’s just a two- to three-hour walk down a zigzagging path to the small oasis town of Sangalle. Along the way, there are impressive views of the valley landscape. Down in Sangalle, a handful of lodges receive trekkers. Amenities are basic, but you’ll have all you need for a relaxing stay in this truly magnificent setting.

UYO UYO ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE

If you’re staying in Yanque, make the short side trip to Uyo Uyo, a ruined pre-Inca village built of stone blocks held together with clay mortar. The site was first occupied by the Collagua group in the 1300s and later by the Inca civilization. The ruins you’ll see are the result of extensive restoration work over three years. You can undertake the two- to three- hour loop trail from town, finishing with a refreshing dip in the Chacapi hot springs.

YANQUE MUSEUM

Learn about Colca and its diverse communities on a visit to Museo de Yanque. Three exhibition rooms display scale models of colonial-era Colca churches, as well as ceramics, textiles, skulls, maps, paintings, and dioramas depicting pre-Columbian life. An additional room depicts contemporary life in the Colca Valley, from plants and animals to agriculture, religion, and typical dress. The museum also offers textile workshops and a program of cultural activities throughout the year.

WHERE TO STAY IN COLCA CANYON

Accommodations in Colca are close to Chivay, Yanque, and Cabanaconde. Enjoy a good night’s rest in the shadows of glacier-capped peaks and a tranquil day away from the crowds. Browse our preferred selection of Colca Canyon hotels, from the luxurious Aranwa Colca to budget-friendly options such as Casa Andina Colca and La Casa de Mami Yacchi.

Consider customizing your travel itinerary with an overnight stay at Colca Lodge near Chivay, home to arguably the most incredible hot springs in all of Peru. Guests have exclusive access to the lodge’s private thermal pools overlooking the river and can top off their rejuvenating afternoon with a massage at the on-site Spa Eco Thermal.

Cabanaconde

Your start and end-point for the trek – most multi day hikers won’t spend a night here but it isn’t a bad idea if you have time and don’t want to rush to/from Arequipa.

  • Pachamama Hostel.- The most popular option in town, and they also offer good information about the trek and routes (including maps for guests).
  • Hotel Arum Qurpawasi.-  Located in Cabanaconde, 24 km from Colca Canyon, Arum Qurpawasi Hospedaje provides accommodation with a restaurant, a bar and a shared lounge. 30 km from Colca Canyon and 6.9 km from Pujío, the property offers a garden and a terrace. There is a 24-hour reception, shuttle service, room service and free Wi-Fi throughout. A continental breakfast is served daily.
WHERE TO STAY IN SAN JUAN DE CHUCCHO

A small hamlet at the bottom of the canyon where you will either spend your first or last night if it’s on your route. It has several options spread out over a distance of 5-10 minutes – depending on your route and how tired you are, you may just end up at the first one you stumble towards.

  • Posada Roy.- Run by a wonderful woman and her family, good food, setting and hospitality. It is not possible to book this accommodation in advance, so if possible arrive nice and early in high season.
  • Posada Gloria.- Is located in Tapay, 43 km from Colca Canyon. It has a restaurant, a 24-hour reception, a shared kitchen and free Wi-Fi throughout. Room service, a tour desk and currency exchange are available. Featuring a garden, terrace and views of gardens. All hostel rooms have a patio with a city view. Posada Gloria offers a continental or buffet breakfast.
  • Colibri Lodge.- Located 43 km from Colca Canyon, Colibri Lodge provides accommodation with a restaurant, a bar and a 24-hour front desk for your convenience. There is free Wi-Fi. Bed linen and towels are provided at the property for an additional fee. The lodge offers a buffet or vegetarian breakfast.Colibri Lodge has a terrace. Guests can go hiking nearby, or enjoy the garden.
WHERE TO STAY IN SANGALLE

Without doubt the most popular place to spend a night in the Colca Canyon due to its uniqueness and relative ease of access from Cabanaconde for daytrippers or one-night non-hiking visits. Booking ahead is absolutely essential in high season.

  • Oasis Paraiso Ecolodge. –  Located at the foot of the Sangelle Valley in Cabanaconde, Oasis Paraiso Ecolodge is surrounded by hills and greenery, features an outdoor pool and offers a free breakfast. The city of Cabanaconde is located a 3-hour drive away and is only accessible on foot, on horseback or by mule.

The simple rooms have bedspreads and walls decorated in bright colours. All of them have a private or shared bathroom and offer views of the mountains and the garden. In addition, towels and bed linen are provided. Electricity is available only between 18:00 and 21:00.

In the surroundings of Oasis Paraiso Ecolodge you can go hiking and explore the Colca Canyon and River. In addition, the establishment houses a restaurant, a games room and a reception with a tourist information service.

  • Paraiso Las Palmeras Lodge.- Las Palmeras Eco Hostel is located in Cabanaconde, 14 miles from Colca Canyon, and has a restaurant, a bar and a garden. The property is around 30 km from Colca Canyon, 6.9 km from Pujío and 34 km from Malata. There is also a tour desk and luggage storage. Rooms include a balcony. Rooms at Las Palmeras Eco Hostel are equipped with a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, and a patio with garden views. An American breakfast is served every morning.
  • El Eden Lodge.- Eden Lodge has a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a bar and shared lounge in Cabanaconde. 34 km from Colca Canyon and 2.5 km from Malata, the property offers a garden and a terrace. There is a 24-hour reception, room service and currency exchange.The hotel rooms have a patio with a river view. All rooms at Eden Lodge are equipped with a private bathroom with a shower. The property offers a continental or vegetarian breakfast.
WHERE TO STAY IN LLAHUAR

There is nothing in Llahuar except two places to stay and the thermal pools: you’ll spend your first night here or, if you’re taking our hardcore route, your last night.

  • Casa Virginia.- A cute little setting overlooking the river, it has a handful of rooms, beautiful garden, and a guinea pig farm. A double room with shared bathroom included entrance to the thermal baths down by the river.
  • Llahuar Lodge.- Llahuar Lodge has a garden and 3 hot spring pools with thermal water open 24 hours a day. It is a 3-hour walk from the Huaruro waterfalls and 9 km from the town of Canamaconde.The rooms at the Llahuar Lodge are quiet and have a shared bathroom. Llahuar Lodge offers luggage storage and tourist information to explore the area. Fishing and hiking tours are organized on request.
WHERE TO STAY IN YANQUE

Yanque Peru is an authentic village that is almost 20 miles before the main tourist entrance gate of the increasingly popular Colca Canyon. There are many awesome and adventurous things to do in Yanque and the surrounding villages that remain hidden gems. Sadly, many tourists skip this under-appreciated region and village.

  • Le Fofer Colca.- Located in Yanque, 7.8 km from the bus station, Le Foyer Colca provides accommodation with a shared lounge, free private parking, a garden and a terrace. This 3-star hotel offers a tour desk and luggage storage. There is a 24-hour reception, concierge service, and currency exchange.

Rooms are furnished with a desk, bedding, and a patio with garden views. Rooms at Le Foyer Colca have free Wi-Fi and a private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries. All rooms include a seating area. Le Foyer Colca offers a à la carte or American breakfast.

  • Colca  Lodge Spa & Hot Springs.- Located a 3-hour drive from Arequipa, this resort offers a wide variety of spa services, access to thermal baths, 3 gourmet restaurants and rooms with garden views. It also has free private parking.

Colca Lodge Spa & Hot Springs offers horseback riding through the Colca Valley and large sun loungers in the garden. It also has a basic satellite internet connection service at the reception.The rooms offer a cozy atmosphere and feature parquet floors, rugs, stenciled walls and decorated wood paneling. Some have private access to the hot springs and include a fireplace and a minibar.

A buffet breakfast is served daily, including regional jams and tropical fruits. The main restaurant is decorated with rustic walls and decorations. The Puye restaurant offers Alpandina cuisine and the barbecue bar serves typical Peruvian specialties next to the Colca River.

  • Casona Plaza Ecolodge Colca.- Casona Plaza Ecolodge Colca is located in the town of Yanque, 7 km from Chivay in the Colca Valley. Yanque preserves the legacy of its “Collahuas” ancestors, such as the traditions, architecture, archaeological remains and the ruins of Uyo Uyo. It also houses the most beautiful colonial church in the valley, as well as museums and natural thermal pools.

The construction of the hotel blends perfectly with the wild environment while offering the most modern comforts. In addition, it enjoys a strategic location for excursions by bicycle, horseback, on foot or by canoe, as well as for fishing.

  • Killawasi Lodge.- Killawasi Lodge is located in the heart of the famous Colca Valley, in the town of Yangue. It is surrounded by picturesque landscapes full of nature and offers modern accommodation with private balconies. The rooms have a cozy decoration thanks to the mixture of wood and Peruvian fabrics and works of art. They all enjoy fantastic views of the valley. The private bathrooms have a bathtub and a shower. There is room service.

Hotel Killawasi offers many adventure and ecological activities in the area. Guests can go horseback riding, hiking, visit the natural springs and spot condors in one of the deepest canyons in the world. They can also learn more about local Inca history and agriculture. A buffet breakfast is served in the restaurant. In the evening, you can taste various dishes made with fresh ingredients from the region. At the bar, drinks and snacks can be ordered during the day.

  • Tradicion Colca.- Featuring a new indoor pool, garden and bar, Tradicion Colca offers rural accommodation in Yanque, 7 km from Chivay. An American breakfast is served daily. The restaurant prepares Peruvian dishes for lunch and dinner.

All rooms at Tradicion Colca are surrounded by wild nature and offer views of the mountains. They have a private bathroom, hot water and heating. The sauna and massage sessions are available at an extra cost. Guests can relax reading a book from the library. The property offers a bicycle rental service and table tennis.

The hotel has a private barn located nearby. Guests can organize horseback riding excursions to the main archaeological sites. The property has a 45 cm Dobsonian telescope for stargazing and offers access to the planetarium and the astronomical observation center at an additional cost.

  • Miskiwasi Bed & Breakfast.- The Miskiwasi Bed & Breakfast is a small hotel located in the town of Yanque, in the Colca Valley. It offers a regional restaurant, a delicious breakfast, free Wi-Fi and impressive views of the Cruz del Cóndor canyon.

Rooms are decorated with colorful local fabrics and upholstery, and feature heating, a desk, and a private bathroom with hot water. In addition, room service is offered. The property serves a continental breakfast and Peruvian specialties such as the popular ceviche, which consists of marinated fish served with sweet potatoes and corn.

Miskiwasi Bed & Breakfast organizes excursions to places of interest in the area, such as the Cruz del Cóndor, located 35 km away. It also offers bicycle rental, transfer and currency exchange services. Chivay is 8 km away and Arequipa is 160 km away. Free private parking is available nearby.

  • La Casa de la Abuela Isabel.- Located in Yanque, 7.9 km from the bus station, La Casa de la Abuela Isabel provides accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar and a shared lounge. 8 km from Chivay Arena and 8.3 km from Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church, the property offers a garden and barbecue facilities. There is a 24-hour reception, shuttle service, room service and free Wi-Fi.

All rooms have patios with garden views. The rooms are equipped with a private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries. Some include a kitchen. Casa de la Abuela Isabel serves a buffet breakfast every morning. There is also a solarium. Casa de la Abuela Isabel offers a car and bicycle rental service. The area is ideal for cycling and fishing.

  • Las Casitas, A Belmond Hotel.-  Las Casitas, A Belmond Hotel, Colca Canyon offers luxurious country house-style villas with private fireplaces and free Wi-Fi. It offers a spa with massages and aromatherapy sessions and an outdoor pool, and is situated in the beautiful setting of the Colca Canyon.

All villas at Las Casitas, A Belmond Hotel, Colca Canyon are designed with care. All have a private terrace with a heated Marbel pool and views of the canyon and gardens. In addition, they have a spacious bathroom, 3 showers and a glass ceiling.

They are equipped with a minibar and an iPod dock. The sofa is located in front of the cozy fireplace. At Las Casitas, A Belmond Hotel, Colca Canyon, guests will find ingredients from the orchard and organic tree orchards. There are also stables, children’s play areas, trout ponds for fishing and regional animals such as alpacas and llamas, like the spacious garden.

Wellness facilities include a sauna and various massage treatments. Guests can enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities, such as giant condor watching, horseback riding, hiking or visiting a local alpaca farm. The property has a gazebo with views of the valley and a chapel. Las Casitas restaurant offers magnificent views. The dishes are prepared with tasty regional ingredients. The bar is open throughout the day and serves refreshments and drinks. There is room service.

WHERE TO STAY IN COPORAQUE

Coporaque is a picturesque little town where you can walk to the ruins of Uyo Uyo. The travelers who arrive can do experiential tourism. The snow-capped mountains and the colors of the sunset are fabulous. The town has its square next to it is the Chapel of San Sebastián, the Temple of Santiago Apóstol, centuries-old witnesses of the faith of these towns of Arequipa, and its rustic streets stopped in the color of a watercolor.

The pre-Inca terraces and irrigation system still in operation demonstrate the agricultural progress achieved by the Collagua ethnic group, native to this part of the southern Andes. And apparently the word Coporaque would come from the Quechua words “quoto”, “pile of corn” and “raque” which means “place where it is distributed”; the joined words would mean “place where the corn is distributed”.

  • Aranwa Pueblito Encantado del Colca.- Located in Arequipa, Aranwa Pueblito Encantado del Colcan features a spa, 2 swimming pools, panoramic views and luxurious décor. It serves a daily buffet breakfast. Free WiFi is available throughout the property, which also has free private parking.

Aranwa Pueblito Encantado del Colcan offers air-conditioned rooms with elegant chandeliers and dark wood furniture. Some also have a balcony and a minibar, and the suite has a kitchenette. The property also has a chalet.

At Aranwa Pueblito Encantado del Colcan there is a shared garden. It also houses a restaurant serving local food. In addition, there is room service. Aranwa Pueblito Encantado del Colcan is located 10 minutes’ drive from the town of Chivay. Rodríguez Ballon International Airport is a 3-hour drive away.

  • Lodge El Portal de Qopuy.- Located 7.7 km from Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church, Lodge El Portal de Qopuy provides accommodation with a bar, a shared lounge and a 24-hour front desk for your convenience. The lodge offers free WiFi and free private parking. Some units have a patio and/or balcony with views of the city.

Lodge El Portal de Qopuy offers a buffet or à la carte breakfast. The accommodation has a garden and a terrace.

  • Casa Vivencial Yuraq Qaqa.- Situated 7.5 km from Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church, Casa vivencial Yuraq Qaqa features accommodation with a garden, a terrace and a 24-hour front desk for your convenience.

All units are equipped with air conditioning, a shared bathroom and a kitchen with a fridge, oven and stove. Bed linen and towels are provided at the property for an additional fee. A continental breakfast is served at the property.

Yuraq Qaqa Experiential House features a hot tub. In the surroundings you can go cycling and fishing. The property offers a bicycle rental service.

  • Casa Vivencial Rumi Wasi.- Casa Vivencial Rumi Wasi is located in Coporaque, just 7.4 km from Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church, and offers a restaurant, a garden, and a 24-hour front desk. It is located 7.6 km from Chivay Arena and offers a shared kitchen.

The accommodation has a dining area and a kitchen with a dishwasher, fridge and stove.The country house offers a continental or American breakfast. Casa Vivencial Rumi Wasi has a terrace. Nearby you can go cycling and fishing.

  • Ayni Wasi.- Ayni Wasi has garden views, free WiFi and free private parking, situated in Coporaque, 7.7 km from Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church.

The private bathroom is fully equipped with a shower and free toiletries. The country house offers an American breakfast. Ayni Wasi has a terrace. Guests can go hiking and cycling nearby, or enjoy the garden.

WHERE TO STAY IN CHIVAY

El pueblo de Chivay es la capital de la provincia de Caylloma en el departamento de Arequipa. Su fama reside en estar localizado en la parte alta del cañón del Colca, el segundo atractivo turístico más visitado del Perú (después de Machu Picchu).

Chivay es la puerta de ingreso al cañón del Colca. Está a 163 kilómetros por carretera desde la ciudad de Arequipa. Sus calles, plazas e iglesias tienen las típicas características de un pueblo serrano de vida apacible y muchas tradiciones. Entre los principales atractivos turísticos destacan los baños termales de La Calera, el planetario de Colca, su iglesia colonial, así como las rutas que conducen al cañón del Colca. Puede visitar este poblado por propia cuenta o dentro de un tour todo incluido.

El nombre ‘Chivay’ proviene de la palabra quechua ‘Chuay’ que quiere decir ‘Plato de barro’ y guarda relación con la forma hondonada del poblado. Sus orígenes se remontan a épocas anteriores a los incas. Allí habitaron los collawas y los cabanas, herederos y forjadores de las culturas Wari y Tiahuanaco. Posteriormente estos pobladores se unirían al imperio inca.

  • Hotel el Refugio.- Located in the impressive Colca Valley, this rustic-style inn has thermal baths, one of them covered, the other open, all of them nestled in a majestic landscape with views of the Colca River and the dominant mountains.

The rooms are decorated with rustic walls in delicate pale olive tones and have views of the valley and the river. All rooms have a small balcony or terrace with splendid views. All rooms have a modern private bathroom. A full American breakfast is served at the restaurant, which features panoramic windows overlooking the valley and serves local specialities. There is also a small central cast iron fireplace.

  • Rumi Wasi.- Rumi Wasi is located in Chivay, a 4-minute walk from the main square. Free Wi-Fi and free daily continental breakfast are provided. Rooms include a private bathroom and cable TV. Rumi Wasi has a restaurant.
  • Casa Andina Standard Colca. –  Casa Andina Standard Colca is located in Chivay, at one end of the Colca Valley. This secluded hotel offers traditional stone houses. The hotel’s restaurant serves a wide variety of Peruvian dishes, made with ingredients from its own garden.

Casa Andina Standard Colca has a terrace with a fountain and a cozy lounge with a fireplace. Due to the altitude, the hotel reception provides oxygen on request. The accommodations have simple, rustic décor and include a desk and a radiator. Guests can enjoy Chivay’s natural hot spring pools or take a guided tour of the Colca Canyon.

  • La Casa de Anita.- La Casa de Anita offers accommodation in Plaza of Chivay. It also houses a restaurant. Rooms feature a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bath or shower. Casa de Anita also has free Wi-Fi throughout. The property has a 24-hour reception and private parking.
  • Colca Canyon Hotel.- Located in Chivay, 100 meters from Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church and 400 meters from Chivay Arena, Colca Canyon Hotel provides accommodation with a terrace and free private parking. All rooms feature a kitchenette, a flat-screen cable TV, and a private bathroom. There is a 24-hour reception, airport shuttle service, room service and free Wi-Fi throughout. All rooms include a desk. They also include a wardrobe. Colca Canyon Hotel serves a continental breakfast every morning.
  • Sonqo Killa del Colca.-  Located in Chivay, 500 meters from Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church, Sonqo Killa del Colca provides accommodation with a shared lounge and private parking. All rooms feature a flat-screen cable TV and a private bathroom. The hotel has family rooms.The rooms are equipped with bed linen and towels.

Sonqo Killa del Colca serves an American breakfast every morning.In the immediate vicinity there are several places of interest, such as the Chivay Arena stadium, the bus station and the main square. The nearest airport is Rodríguez Ballón International Airport, 143 km from Sonqo Killa del Colca.

  • Pozo del Cielo.-  El Pozo del Cielo offers accommodation in Chivay, just 1 km from the main square. There is free Wi-Fi and an on-site restaurant. The rooms are equipped with a flat-screen cable TV, a private bathroom, heating and an electric blanket.

A buffet breakfast is served daily and the on-site restaurant serves regional specialities. El Pozo del Cielo is located 300 meters from the archaeological ruins. The bus terminal is 1 km away.

  • Vita Hoteles Colca.- La Vita Hoteles Colca offers accommodation in the center of the city of Chivay, in the heart of the Colca Valley, just 1 block from the main square. Colca Canyon is 1 km from the accommodation. There is free Wi-Fi.

La Vita Hoteles Colca has 30 comfortable rooms with carpeted floors, private bathroom with unlimited hot water, feather duvets and heating. The property has a 24-hour reception. La Vita Hoteles Colca is 100 meters from Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church, 400 meters from Chivay Arena and a 3-hour drive from Arequipa.

HOW FIT DO I NEED TO BE?

Overall, the Colca Canyon trek is challenging, whichever path you choose. Even though the hike down may be easy, you still need to hike your way out of the canyon and, with Sangalle sitting at 2,100 metres of elevation and Cabanaconde at 3,300 metres, you’re facing the effects of altitude, too.

Another thing to consider is that it’s a high desert region where the sun is pretty intense, and there are not many trees to offer shade. Moreover, the paths are mostly dusty with small, loose rocks, which is physically demanding.

You don’t need to be super fit to do the Colca Canyon hike. But it’s definitely not for a first-timer or anyone with mobility issues. Since there’s no place to spend the nights other than in Cabanaconde or in the villages within the canyon, once you start your hike, there’s no stopping. So, good cardio, strong legs, and a sense of determination are a must.

I DO NOT FEEL WELL AND WISH TO CANCEL MY TRIP FOR TOMORROW MORNING?

Andean Great Treks does not operate the Colca Tours and Treks. The tour providers allow changes up to 17:00pm the day before at no cost. Cancellations or missed tours will be charged the full fee.

I WOKE UP LATE AND MISSED MY TOUR PICK UP. CAN I CHANGE IT FOR TOMORROW?

Andean Great Treks does not operate the Colca Tours and Treks. The operators will charge us fully for any NO SHOW or missed departure not previously cancelled before 17:00pm the day before. If you would like to book the tour/trek again for the next day, then this is possible but you will have to pay a second time.

WILL I HAVE PROBLEMS WITH ALTITUDE SICKNESS ON TOURS OF THE COLCA CANYON?

Altitude sickness can catch many travellers a little bit off guard. Not everyone gets sick in high altitudes and it is difficult to predict who is likely to be badly affected by it. For most people, it is nothing more than a headache and some dizzy sensations that diminishes over a short period of time. 1 to 2 days for most people. If you want to limit your chances of getting sick though, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Do not fly directly into high altitude proceed slowly allowing your body time to acclimatise as you ascend gradually. However, for many that is not possible so there are further steps to take.
  2. Drink lots of water and slow down!! This sounds simple but both of these things are very important. Your body is struggling because you don’t have enough oxygen so avoiding any extraneous activity is a good idea.
  3. Chew Some Coca Leaves. The native people of South America have been chewing coca for centuries thanks to its ability to alleviate mild altitude sickness symptoms. Coca leaves can be bought in any supermarket and even souvenir shops or street stalls.
  4. Take Altitude Sickness (Soroche) pills these are sold over the counter all over Peru and Bolivia and are just a few dollars. If you are flying straight into altitude over 2500meter, without spending any time at a intermediate elevation and you’re worried about getting sick, you can ask your doctor for more specific and stronger altitude sickness medication in advance. In the rare case that your symptoms be more severe than a headache and mild dizziness you should seek to descend in altitude and seek medical assistance.
DO YOU NEED SPECIAL TRAVEL INSURANCE?

The answer is very simple, peace of mind. Any number of things can go wrong when you are on holidays overseas and yet it’s always a surprise when they do an expensive one. To avoid the headaches that come with illness, delays, lost luggage, itinerary changes or cancellations, it pays to plan ahead. Otherwise, you could be stuck paying for hotels or tours you can’t enjoy, or find yourself crowdfunding to pay for enormous medical or repatriation bills.

Travel insurance does not only cover medical issues, depending on your plan, it can also include baggage loss, trip cancellations, stolen credit cards and passports, and even repatriation.

CAN I CONTINUE BY LAND FROM COLCA VALLEY TO PUNO ON LAKE TITICACA?

Yes, this is possible!  And it is the most recommended itinerary to save time, because you do not have to return to Arequipa city.

If you are traveling alone: The Buses depart from Chivay plaza every day between 12 to 13:30 PM (approximately). It is recommended that you buy your bus ticket one day in advance. You must be at the bus station at least 40 minutes before Bus departure.

In our organized Colca canyon excursions: In our Colca Tours the last day (Second day or Third day depending on your type of tour) you will return to Chivay town about 12:00 PM where you will have time for your lunch before taking the Transport and keep driving to Puno city (With stops on the route for pictures).

This transfer to Puno could be organized also with a Tourist Bus Company that offers this service. The coordination and logistic will be in our hands, so you don’t need to be worry and only relax and enjoy the tour!

You will be arriving in Puno about 7:00 PM (19:00hrs) and the drop off will be in your hotel (If it is located in city center), if your hotel is located outside of city center an extra charge can be added for transfer to your hotel.

CAN I START THE COLCA CANYON 2 DAYS TOUR FROM PUNO?

YES! This service is possible in our Colca Canyon exclusive private tours!

But in case you want to join  a Group tour to Colca canyon and you are in Puno city; we can manage this provinding you with a transfer or Bus ticket from Puno to Chivay town; where you can join the Group Tour and keep the tour program until Arequipa city.

The transport or Bus will pick you up from your hotel between 6:00 to 6:15 am arriving at Chivay town approximately at noon, where you will join our Colca canyon Classic Tours  and keep the program according to the itinerary.

The excursions will end in Arequipa city in your hotel.

ESSENTIAL TRIP INFORMATION

ESSENTIAL TRIP INFORMATION ESSENTIAL TRIP INFORMATION

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

BEST SEASON TO TRAVEL

The best time to visit Peru is during the dry season, between May and November, when the weather is dry and bright, with more frequent rainfall occurring between November and April.

JANUARY
Warm - Heavy Rain
FEBUARY
Warm - Heavy Rain
MARCH
Warm - Heavy Rain
APRIL
Warm - Heavy Rain
MAY
Warm - Heavy Rain
JUNE
Warm - Heavy Rain
JULY
Warm - Heavy Rain
AUGUST
Warm - Heavy Rain
SEPTEMBER
Warm - Heavy Rain
OCTOBER
Warm - Heavy Rain
NOVEMBER
Warm - Heavy Rain
DECEMBER
Warm - Heavy Rain

PRICE & AVAILABILITY

PRICE & AVAILABILITY

MAR 2023 - DEC 2024 Price from
$ 125 USD Per Person $ 145 USD
Note

To book this tour, a minimum of $ 125 USD per person is required, the remaining balance will be paid upon arrival in Peru, at the Cusco office.

Any other additional information, please coordinate with your travel agent.

Choose your preferred departure date to proceed.
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2 Quantity Limit!
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What to expect from our

Tours in Peru

You’ll get up close and personal with the destinations and communities you travel through, seeing the cultural and historical highlights, natural wonders and wildlife, and local hidden gems.

DO YOU NEED A VISA FOR PERU?

 Andean Great Treks

Peru is a country of basically free access. Most of the countries of America and Western Europe do not require a tourist visa to enter Peru, and the maximum length of stay granted by the authorities is 183 days (it cannot be extended). For a stay for a longer period with other objectives (business, study, work, etc.) it is necessary to previously request the corresponding visa from the Peruvian consulates.
To enter Peru it is an essential requirement to present a valid passport with a minimum validity of six months from your entry into the national territory. Citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia and Chile can enter with their national identification document.

WHAT WILL THE GROUP BE LIKE?

 Andean Great Treks

Traveling is one of life’s great pleasures and what most of us dream to do at one time or another in our lives. Discovering new cultures and visiting ancient ruins is what motivates us to travel. Peru has a rich and colorful history with many different regions to explore. While thinking of your Peruvian holiday you might want to also consider a group or individual tours in Peru. Both options are viable when traveling in Peru if you prefer the company of other people when you travel then a group tour will be for you. You’ll always have someone to keep you company along the route, but you don’t always have to walk together. Wherever possible your Andean Great Treks leader will allow everyone to walk at their own pace, regrouping regularly along the route.

MONEY AND CURRENCY IN PERU

 Andean Great Treks

The currency in Peru is the Sol. It doesn’t take long to get used to it. There are just over three Soles to the US Dollar (USD), around three and a half Soles to a Euro (EUR) and just over four Soles to the Pound (GBP). Rounding up helps you make quick conversions when deliberating prices and making payment. While some businesses accept US dollars and some ATMs allow you to withdraw it even, it is much easier to pay for day-to-day things with Soles including food and drink, shopping at local markets and entry to local attractions. There are ATMs in every major city in Peru and as a point of reference can also be found near each city’s Plaza de Armas (the main square). It’s highly unlikely that you will find any ATM in more rural areas including villages and small towns. The fee for withdrawing money at the Peru ATM is around $5-$7 per transaction. The maximum withdrawal is around $200 – $250 per transaction.

IS PERU SAFE TO TRAVEL

 Andean Great Treks

Like many other countries in developing destinations, the region’s beauty and uniqueness are countered by inequality and lack of investment. This has led to crime rates (mainly theft and scams) not being uncommon in the larger cities. We know this doesn’t sound very attractive, but it’s important to mention it regardless. Most experienced and well-traveled visitors will understand this well and not be too concerned. However, having said this, it is our duty to take care of you during your visit. That’s why we present you here with a few recommendations to be extra safe. Avoid walking alone at night on empty streets. Don’t flaunt valuables! If going for a walk or going on public transport, be sensible and avoid showing off expensive items such as expensive watches and jewelry. Be careful of pickpockets! Don’t leave your bags anywhere that doesn’t look safe, and make sure to take them with you.

Peru Travel FAQs

DO I NEED A COVID-19 VACCINE TO JOIN A TRIP IN PERU?

If your Andean Great Treks starts on or before 31 December 2022, you must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.

If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional.

Children under 18 are exempt. Children aged between 5 and 17 years old must provide proof of either vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Andean Great Treks will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

WILL I EXPERIENCE ALTITUDE SICKNESS IN PERU?

Most people can start to feel the effects of altitude at over 2000 m (6561 ft) regardless of age, gender or fitness level. While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you make yourself aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. It’s important to take it easy, drink plenty of water and speak to your group leader at once if you feel unwell.

We recommend seeing your doctor if you have any health concerns before undertaking the trip. Particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition or take any medication.

DO I NEED TO PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE BEFORE TRAVELLING IN PERU?

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Andean Great Treks are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your tour guide on the first day of the trip.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers COVID-19, personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects.

DO I NEED ANY VACCINATIONS BEFORE VISITING PERU?

No vaccines are required in order to enter Peru but some are recommended for protection against disease. Visit your doctor or travel clinic for advice and make sure to schedule vaccinations 4-6 weeks before your departure date, as some require time to become effective.

Recommended travel vaccines for Peru

  1. Hepatitis A (transmitted through contaminated water)
  2. Typhoid (transmitted through contaminated water)
  3. Yellow Fever (transmitted by mosquitos): This vaccination is recommended if you’re visiting Puerto Maldonado, Iquitos or other Amazon Rainforest areas. Some countries require a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate for entry after visiting Peru. Do your research before leaving home to see if you require this vaccine.

CAN I DRINK THE TAP WATER IN PERU?

Drinking tap water isn’t recommended in Peru. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. Ask your tour guide or the hotel where you’re staying where filtered water can be found. It’s advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating. There’s no need to worry about keeping your mouth closed while you shower, but if you have a particularly sensitive stomach, you may wish to use boiled or filtered water to brush your teeth or wash fruits and vegetables.

When ordering cocktails or smoothies, try to avoid drinks with ice. You can always ask the waiter or vendor if they use filtered water to make ice, but if you’d rather not risk it, just order your drinks  ‘without ice’. Single-use water bottles contribute to a huge environmental problem, so your best bet is to bring a portable water filter or water purifying tablets, and a large reusable bottle to refill at canteens or hotels. Brands like Steripen sterilize water using UV, while bottles from Sawyer remove most bacteria through an in-built foam purifier.

Water safety tips for Peru

Here are some handy tips to follow when it comes to drinking water in Peru:

  • Buy a special water bottle that can purify or filter tap water
  • Bring plenty of oral rehydration tablets in case you come down with diarrhea or stomach upset
  • Take advantage of the wide variety of hydrating fruits and young coconut water available at local markets

ARE CREDIT CARDS WIDELY ACCEPTED IN PERU?

Most hotels, large retailers and tourist attractions accept credit cards but will usually charge a fee (about 5% to 7%) for using them. Make sure you carry cash for when you’re dealing with small vendors, family-run restaurants and market vendors.

CAN I USE MY MOBILE PHONE WHILE IN PERU?

There are many situations where you might want to use your mobile when travelling. It could be to call a hostel to book a room, arrange a meeting point for breakfast with your new travel friends, or contact loved ones in an emergency.

Mobile phone coverage is generally good in Peru’s cities, but may not be available in more remote and mountainous areas. You will be able to use your mobile/cell phone while in Peru, but only if you have activated global roaming or purchased a local SIM card. If you choose to activate global roaming, don’t forget to check with your provider as to what costs will be incurred to avoid any unwanted surprises when you get your phone bill – it’s often painfully expensive! You should also make sure you check that your phone is unlocked before leaving home or the local SIM may not work overseas.

Buying a local SIM in Peru

Many travellers prefer to buy a local SIM card instead of a roaming plan as it works out much cheaper. You can buy a SIM card at most airports and phone retail shops in the bigger towns and cities. There are several carriers to choose from in Peru, with both prepaid and postpaid options available. Though postpaid is slightly cheaper, it may require a minimum commitment period, so you might be better off going with the prepaid option. As far as carriers go, Movistar, Entel and Claro are some of the biggest and will offer you decent coverage, though it may be poor or cut off completely in more rural or mountainous areas like the Andes.

WHAT ARE THE TOILETS LIKE IN PERU?

Peru has a mix of both squat toilets and western-style flushable toilets. It’s a good idea to carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer, as they are not always provided. Some public toilets charge a small usage fee. Expect to use squat toilets if travelling on the Inca Trail.

WHAT IS ATM ACCESS LIKE IN PERU?

ATMs can be found in most of Peru’s major cities and tourist areas. ATMs are far less common in rural areas and small villages so have enough cash to cover purchases when travelling away from the larger cities.

 ANDEAN GREAT TREKS TOURS DIFFERENCE

ANDEAN GREAT TREKS TOURS DIFFERENCE

UNRIVALLED KNOWLEDGE & EXPERIENCE

Every Andean Great Treks  holiday has been thoughtfully planned and crafted by our specialists. They draw on their own extensive travel experience and the guidance and expertise of our local partners to create superb holidays. Our specialists are committed to making every aspect smooth and enjoyable; they genuinely want to ensure that the holidays they create leave you with wonderful lasting memories.

AMAZING TOURS & AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCES

Every Andean Great Treks traveller is accompanied by an experienced tour guide, you will be immersed in Historic cities, ancient ruins and unfamiliar landscapes are all brought to life by our carefully selected local guides. They want to share their expertise and help you make your own discoveries too; their sole mission is to ensure you enjoy every moment.

FLEXIBILITY & CHOICE

Giving you the freedom to make your holiday even more memorable. We know how much our customers look forward to their holiday and we pride ourselves on the choice and flexibility that we offer to enhance every aspect of your experience. Whether it’s getting to the airport, upgrading your room or booking an additional excursion, we can help.

GUIDED BY THE LOCAL GUIDES, TRUE EXPERTS!

GUIDED BY THE LOCAL GUIDES, TRUE EXPERTS!

Our guides are the stars of the show; it is their unrivalled knowledge, passion and expertise that will transform your tour experience from good to truly extraordinary!

Because the have grown up in the area and know it like the back of their hand, so they can help you experience whichever aspects most interest you. They’re passionate about sharing their corner of the world with you, and as you explore together, they’ll open your eyes to the intricate details, provide background to enhance your understanding of what you’re seeing, and share stories that will bring everything to life.

ALL OF OUR NATIONAL TOUR GUIDES…

  • Have at least five years guiding experience
  • Are fluent in English
  • Are born and raised in Cusco, Lima, Manu Jungle, Puno
  • Go through rigorous and ongoing training programmes
  • Are at your service 24 hours a day

OUR TRAVELS SHAPE YOURS

OUR TRAVELS SHAPE YOURS

“Your inspiration for a trip can be a single word or a highly evolved outline, but it’s the conversations we have that help us understand the experience you’re looking for. Meanwhile, I’m looking back on the time I spent at the destination.

‘The great thing about working with a specialist at Andean Great Treks is how they take your  complete jumble of ideas and turn them into  something absolutely spectacular.’

As you begin to share your ideas with your specialist, it will connect them immediately back to a time in their own travels. Conjuring a picture of the ­rest time they made that same discovery, reminding them how it felt.

Your specialist understands that, when the journey is right, it has the power to excite your emotions in the most profound ways after all, that was the effect on them.

They carry a treasure box of moments, captured over many  journeys, into every suggestion they’ll share with you, as  they ask you how you want to feel on your trip.

MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCES, REAL CONNECTIONS

MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCES,  REAL CONNECTIONS

EXPERIENCES THAT CALL TO YOU

It’s what you do in a destination that helps bring it to life. It’s why we strive to choose experiences that help you connect to a place, absorbing a little of its complex character. Wherever your passions lie, we’ll recommend experiences that speak to you, and we’ll recommend the guide or local expert who’s most qualifi­ed to help you explore. Packing your holiday full of special experiences means some early starts and long days, but you can be sure that you’ll return home with many incredible memories! Read our Tours and check the Physical Ratings to see if the pace and activity levels are right for you.

STAYS WITH DIFFERENCE

We know that where you stay is a cherished part of your travels. So, we go to great lengths to ­find places to stay that exceed expectations, or go above and beyond the ordinary, whether in their character, hospitality, or location. Over the years, we’ve discovered the very best properties, trying and testing them, so we can choose the right one for you. We’ve nourished long-standing relationships with these establishments and the people who founded them, and we’ve stayed there many times often, we’ll even know which rooms have the best views (and reserve them for you).

TRAVELLING THE RIGHT WAY

TRAVELLING THE RIGHT WAY

Our style of travel — authentic, thoughtful, and focused on building meaningful connections to the people and places you visit — is inherently respectful and considerate of the destinations we love. We design each aspect of your trip exactly as you want it, which includes its sustainability. That might mean choosing a train journey instead of a flight, staying at eco-friendly wildlife lodges, or opting for experiences that give back to the communities you’re visiting. The choice is yours.

Responsible travel has always been at the heart of what we do. First and foremost, because it gives you the best experience, but, also because it helps to preserve the communities and landscapes you visit. This isn’t new for us we collaborated with local communities and outside experts so we can grow to be better ambassadors.

The most authentic and interesting experiences often directly benefit the local people. We prefer to buy local products that are produced in the organic farms of the Sacred Valley, we also have alliances with local artisan organizations who provide us with souvenir items for our clients, your money directly benefits the local economy.

Our style of travel — authentic, thoughtful, and focused on building meaningful connections to the people and places you visit — is inherently respectful and considerate of the destinations we love. We design each aspect of your trip exactly as you want it, which includes its sustainability. That might mean choosing a train journey instead of a flight, staying at eco-friendly wildlife lodges, or opting for experiences that give back to the communities you’re visiting. The choice is yours.

Responsible travel has always been at the heart of what we do. First and foremost, because it gives you the best experience, but, also because it helps to preserve the communities and landscapes you visit. This isn’t new for us we collaborated with local communities and outside experts so we can grow to be better ambassadors.

The most authentic and interesting experiences often directly benefit the local people. We prefer to buy local products that are produced in the organic farms of the Sacred Valley, we also have alliances with local artisan organizations who provide us with souvenir items for our clients, your money directly benefits the local economy.

WE EXPLORE WITHOUT AFFECTING THE ECOSYSTEM

WE EXPLORE WITHOUT AFFECTING THE ECOSYSTEM

We want travel to change us, and not the World

‘There’s a saying: we don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. When we show you our country, this philosophy guides everything we do. It’s our responsibility to preserve the environment and wildlife, and support communities. That means using slower modes of transport, like cycling, employing local people, and working with communities who’ll benefit directly from your visit. This also gives you the best, most authentic impression of the places we want to share with you.

We prefer to buy local products in ecological bags, to avoid the use of plastic bags, likewise we teach the use of soaps and ecological products in each tour that we organize. We also work on reforestation projects with local communities who take care of landscape resources such as communal reserves, national parks.

We want travel to change us, and not the World

‘There’s a saying: we don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. When we show you our country, this philosophy guides everything we do. It’s our responsibility to preserve the environment and wildlife, and support communities. That means using slower modes of transport, like cycling, employing local people, and working with communities who’ll benefit directly from your visit. This also gives you the best, most authentic impression of the places we want to share with you.

We prefer to buy local products in ecological bags, to avoid the use of plastic bags, likewise we teach the use of soaps and ecological products in each tour that we organize. We also work on reforestation projects with local communities who take care of landscape resources such as communal reserves, national parks.

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